Phone, Smartphone, Notebook and Gadget Reviews and buyers guide
Phone Notebooks & Tablets Gaming Gadgets iPhone & iPad Shop Forum


Home > Android Phone Reviews > HTC Vivid


HTC Vivid

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: AT&T
Manufacturer: HTC
Discuss this product

What's hot: Sharp and colorful qHD display, solid reception, great LTE speeds.

What's not: Aesthetics not up to HTC standards. Small battery.


Editor's Update: Android OS 4.0 ICS came to the Vivid as an OTA update mid-March 2012.

Reviewed November 21, 2011 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

The HTC Vivid is a lovely high end phone with enticing specs and a vivid (sorry, but it is) qHD display. The problem? It's one of the homeliest phones HTC has turned out in years and its 4G LTE launch mate, the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket shows it up in some, but not all, respects. But for HTC fans and Samsung not-fans, the Vivid has enough going for it that we can easily recommend it.

HTC Vivid

The HTC Vivid joined the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket on November 6 as AT&T's first true 4G LTE phones. We're lucky enough to be in an LTE coverage area, and download speeds have been rocking 25Mbps on average, with 12Mbps upload speeds. Our top download speed was 38.4Mbps according to the app! Of course, once the network is peppered with LTE devices, speeds will come down, but it bodes well for AT&T's new true 4G network.

The HTC Vivid has much in common with the Skyrocket: both have 4.5" displays, Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread with promised upgrades to Ice Cream Sandwich, 8 megapixel cameras and dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPUs. The Vivid has a higher resolution Super LCD that's qHD 960 x 540 pixels, and it lives up to its name with rich and accurate colors that pop.

Design and Ergonomics

HTC is usually the paragon of elegant design, with complex curves, sculpted surfaces and classy soft touch finishes. The Vivid is the Pontiac Aztek of phones: a confused mix of textures, shiny plastics and an odd angular design that's neither comfortable nor attractive. The truncated pyramid that is the back is gloss black plastic that adores finger oils, isn't particularly comfortable to hold and is hard to grip. The flat finish metal back is a little jarring next to shiny plastic, but it redeems the phone from a quality materials perspective. The Vivid is also available in white, and from the photos it looks more attractive, though we haven't seen one in person yet. I hate to harp on appearances, but consumer electronics devices are an extension of personal style, so looks do count. And we have high expectations from HTC because their high end smartphones usually use top quality finishes and are good looking and well made.

HTC Vivid

In terms of quality, the phone is solid and weighty as HTC devices often are. It feels more durable and rugged than the waifish Skyrocket and Samsung Galaxy S II, though we haven't intentionally abused the trio to see who best survived a bounce off the pavement. The power button is small but easier to operate than the sometimes maddening HTC Rezound, and the volume controls don't rattle or have play. The micro USB port is on the phone's left side and the 3.5mm headphone jack is up top. The microSD card slot is blocked by the battery, so you'll have to power down the phone to insert or remove a card. AT&T isn't as generous as Verizon: no card is included. But you do have 16 gigs of internal storage and the phone sells for $100 less than Verizon's LTE smartphones.

HTC Vivid


Deals and Shopping:



HTC Vivid Video Review

Horsepower and Performance

The HTC Vivid isn't the fastest kid on the block, though the 1.2GHz dual core CPU is solid enough. It scored 2159 in Quadrant and a middle of the pack 4526 in the Sunspider JavaScript test. The Vivid has to work harder to drive the higher resolution display, and that accounts for some of the benchmark differences, along with the not huge 0.3GHz clock speed difference. On paper, the Skyrocket is faster. In use, the Skyrocket feels a bit more responsive as well, but the Vivid never struck us as anything but quick. It's just not lightning fast. HTC Sense 3.0 is on board, and that may have something to do with it. We actually like Sense and the ease of use improvements it offers over stock Android, but it does consume more RAM and the highly customized app drawer with its enforced vertical page-at-a-time scrolling style can make it feel slower than it is.

The phone has a gig of RAM and 16 gigs of internal storage with 8.83 gigs available for your use. Like all recent HTC phones, it has a protected bootloader (important for those who want to root and install custom ROMs), but we assume HTC will offer a way to unlock the bootloader at the possible expense of your warranty.


  Quadrant Linpack multi-thread Sunspider Javascript Test
Motorola Droid RAZR 2550 75.7 2102
Motorola Atrix 2 2287 64 4090
HTC Vivid 2159 57 4526
Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket 3346 83.8 2878

Higher numbers are better in Quadrant and Linpack, lower numbers are better in Sunspider.

Phone and Data

The HTC Vivid has HSPA+ 14.4 for those of you (most of you right now) who aren't in an AT&T LTE coverage area. The carrier now has 15 markets covered, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Boston. New York City will come by year's end. Though the Samsung GS II has a faster 21Mbps HSPA+ radio, we got the same results on the phones themselves and when tethering on AT&T's HSPA network. The Vivid averaged 6Mbps down and 1.2Mbps up on HSPA and got absolutely amazing results on 4G LTE as we noted earlier in our review. If you're in an LTE market or one that soon will have AT&T LTE, you're in for a treat, especially if you want to use the mobile hotspot feature that's included in the $45/month 4 gig plan. Speeds rival and currently surpass many home broadband connections; but beware using up your monthly data allotment quickly if you tether to watch streaming video on your PC or download a host of Windows updates. Should you go over your allowance, AT&T, like Verizon, will bill you $10 for each additional gig you use in a given month.

Reception was good in our tests, and the Vivid and Skyrocket had identical LTE reception as measured in -db. Call quality is good but not stellar. Like the Rezound on Verizon, we noted digitized voice and a less sharp and clear quality to voice. That said, we had no trouble understanding our callers and they understood us. When AT&T LTE phones are in a call, they use the HSPA network rather than LTE for voice. So don't be alarmed if you see the little "LTE" icon go away at the top of your screen. In our tests, the phone hopped back on the LTE network a minute after we ended calls.

Display and Multimedia

The aptly named HTC Vivid has a colorful and sharp qHD 960 x 540 pixel display. We appreciate the color accuracy and white whites that are Super AMOLED Plus' Achilles' heel. I know many of you love Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus displays for their better than life colors and high contrast, but there's something to be said for HTC's Super LCD displays, especially if you spend much time reading eBooks and reading web pages with primarily dark text on white backgrounds. The Vivid has pleasing whites that lack Super AMOLED Plus' blue color cast, and the higher resolution makes for sharper fonts. It might not be as flashy a display as the Skyrocket's, but you get greater pixel density and clarity as well as menu fonts that aren't huge like Samsung's on their 800 x 480 jumbo screen phones. If you're over 45 and don't have the best eyes though, Samsung's large fonts and high contrast might suit you better, even if fonts aren't as crisp.

These days all smartphones are miniature multimedia powerhouses, and the dual core, graphics accelerated Vivid is no exception. It can play 1080p MPEG4 videos well, and it can do HDMI out with an optional MHL adapter dongle that typically sells for around $20. The phone has an FM radio, AT&T Live TV for streaming TV shows ($10/month and powered by MobiTV), MOG Music, Google's Music app, mSpot Movies (video rentals, a partner of AT&T), YouTube, Adobe Flash Player and HTC Watch (more movie rentals with purchase options). The Vivid comes bundled with a playable demo of Need for Speed Shift that performs perfectly.

The speakerphone is full and doesn't distort at higher volumes, but it's not terribly loud. Those of you who like to use the speakerphone to make calls in noisy haunts might have better luck with a headset. It is adequate for calmer locations and both game audio and video tracks have pleasing bass and clear trebles by speaker standards. Like all modern phones, the HTC Vivid supports mono Bluetooth headsets, stereo A2DP headphones and speakers and car kits.


Like many recent top tier HTC phones, the Vivid has an 8 megapixel rear camera with a backside illuminated sensor and fast f2.2 lens for improved low light photography. It's a relatively wide aperture lens with a 28mm equivalent, and like the HTC Amaze 4G and HTC Rezound, it takes very pleasing shots that are sharp, colorful and well exposed. There's a dual LED flash to blind your friends and illuminate dark hallways, and it also helps with low light photos without whiting out your subject. HTC offers a variety of scene settings, ISO, white balance, face detection, geotagging and focus modes. 1080p video capture is slightly less impressive with some sense of haze over cloudy outdoor scenes (the cheap clear plastic cover over the lens may cause this), and motion blur, but it's not bad stuff by any means. For photos, we prefer the Vivid, but for video capture we prefer the Samsung Galaxy S II and Skyrocket.

The phone has a 1.3MP front video chat camera and comes with Qik Lite for video chat. You can also use Gtalk video chat and install Skype.


Less impressive is the oddly low capacity 1620 mAh Lithium Ion battery. We're surprised that HTC couldn't fit a larger battery inside this not terribly thin phone. Still, it's not as bad as you might think; unlike Verizon LTE phones that punish their batteries, AT&T's network goes easier on power, and the Vivid lasted us to the end of the work day with moderate use. Our phone stayed on a steady -90db, 2 bar LTE 4G signal all day, and dropped to HSPA+ only when making calls. If you're in an area with weak LTE coverage, you might see radio ping-ponging that could diminish battery life. Unfortunately, AT&T doesn't offer a setting to disable LTE. The Skyrocket has an 1850 mAh battery in comparison, and a more power frugal Super AMOLED Plus display, and thus it lasted 2 to 3 hours longer in our tests.


The HTC Vivid is in every way a high end phone with a solid dual core CPU, qHD display that we really like, a good 8 megapixel camera and true LTE 4G. The market is absolutely flooded with top tier Android smartphones, and the Vivid does little to stand out though. Thankfully its LTE radio will get it some deserved attention, even if its physical design won't win hearts and minds. The Vivid has stable reception, decent but not stellar voice quality and a sharp camera. If only the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket didn't give it such fierce competition!

Price: $199 with 2 year contract, $549 without contract




HTC Vivid


HTC Vivid


HTC Vivid

The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, HTC Vivid and iPhone 4S.


HTC Vivid

The Skyrocket and Vivid.


blog comments powered by Disqus


Display: 4.5" capacitive Super LCD. Resolution: qHD 960 x 540 pixels. Supports both portrait and landscape modes via accelerometer, has ambient light sensor and proximity sensor.

Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 1620 mAh.

Performance: 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core CPU with Adreno 220 graphics. 1 gig RAM, 16 gigs internal storage with 8.8 gigs available.

Size: 4.47 x 2.78 x 0.53 inches. Weight: 4.67 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band with HSPA+ 14.4 and LTE 4G on the 700MHz band.

Camera: 1.3MP front video chat camera and rear 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash. Can shoot 1080p video.

Audio and Video: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack. Can do HDMI out via optional MHL adapter and has DLNA.

Networking: Integrated WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0.

Software: Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread with HTC 3.0 software. Standard Android apps including Maps, Navigation, Search, YouTube, Gmail, Email and Gtalk. AT&T apps include AT&T Navigator, AT&T Code Scanner, Featured Apps, YP Mobile, Movies and AT&T Live TV. Other apps: Polaris Office, Qik Lite, Task Manager, Transfer, MOG Music, Adobe Flash Player, Car Panel, Dock Mode, FM Radio, Amazon Kindle and Connected Media (DLNA).

Expansion: 1 SDHC microSD card slot.


All Phone Reviews
Smartphone Reviews
Android Phone Reviews
Windows Phone Reviews
HTC Phone Reviews
LG Phone Reviews
Motorola Phone Reviews
Nokia Phone Reviews
Samsung Phone Reviews
Sony Phone Reviews
AT&T Phone Reviews
Sprint Phone Reviews
T-Mobile Phone Reviews
Verizon Phone Reviews
Unlocked GSM Phone Reviews


All Tablet Reviews
Android Tablet Reviews
Tablet Comparisons
Android Tablet Comparisons



Laptop Reviews
Ultrabook Reviews
Laptop Comparisons
Best Ultrabooks



Bluetooth Headsets
iPhone and iPad Accessories
eBook Readers

iPhone Game Reviews
iPad Game Reviews

iPhone Case Reviews
iPad Case Reviews


RSS News Feed

About Us

Contact Us


Site Map